Alabama Part CV erification Visit Letter by HC120917145211

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									                                Alabama Part C Verification Visit Letter
                                                    Enclosure
Scope of Review
During the verification visit, the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) of the U.S.
Department of Education (Department) reviewed critical elements of the State’s general
supervision, data and fiscal systems, and the State’s systems for improving child and family
outcomes and protecting child and family rights.
Methods
In reviewing the State’s systems for general supervision, collection of State-reported data,1 and
fiscal management, and the State’s systems for improving child and family outcomes and
protecting child and family rights, OSEP:
        Analyzed the components of the State’s general supervision, data, and fiscal systems to
         ensure that the systems are reasonably calculated to demonstrate compliance and
         improved performance
        Reviewed the State’s systems for collecting and reporting data the State submitted for
         selected indicators in the State’s Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2008 Annual Performance
         Report (APR)/SPP
        Reviewed the following–
            o Previous APRs
            o The State’s application for funds under Part C of the IDEA
            o Previous OSEP monitoring reports
            o The State’s Web site
            o Other pertinent information related to the State’s systems2
        Gathered additional information through surveys, focus groups or interviews with–
            o The Part C Coordinators
            o State personnel responsible for implementing the general supervision, data, and
                fiscal systems
            o State Interagency Coordinating Council
            o Parents and Advocates
Description of the State’s Part C System
Alabama’s Early Intervention System (AEIS) is a division within the Alabama Department of
Rehabilitation Services (ADRS), the Part C Lead Agency in Alabama. AEIS provides Part C
services through three agencies, the Department of Mental Health/Mental Retardation
(DMH/MR), Children’s Rehabilitation Services (CRS), and the Alabama Institute for the Deaf
and Blind (AIDB). Fifty-five early intervention service (EIS) programs provide services to
infants and toddlers in Alabama through interagency agreements in place with DMH/MR, CRS,
and AIDB.

1
  For a description of the State’s general supervision and data systems, see the State Performance Plan (SPP) on the
State’s Web site.
2
  Documents reviewed as part of the verification process were not reviewed for legal sufficiency, but rather to
inform OSEP's understanding of your State's systems.
Alabama Part C 2010 Verification Letter - Enclosure


I.   General Supervision Systems
Critical Element 1: Identification of Noncompliance
Does the State have a general supervision system that is reasonably designed to identify
noncompliance in a timely manner using its different components?
To effectively monitor the implementation of Part C of the IDEA by EIS programs/providers, as
required by IDEA sections 616, 635(a)(10)(A), and 642 and 34 CFR §§303.500 and 303.501, the
State must have a general supervision system that identifies noncompliance in a timely manner.
The State informed OSEP that as part of its Provider Appraisal Review (PAR) Monitoring
process, the State reviews child records, both on-site and through the Giving Infants, Families
and Toddlers Support (GIFTS) real-time, Web-based database system, on which the State can
review individualized family service plans (IFSPs), evaluations and assessments, and other child-
specific documents. The State’s PAR manual states clearly that 100% compliance is required for
all Part C requirements.
Notwithstanding this requirement, however, the State informed OSEP during the verification
visit that the State did not make a finding of noncompliance in all cases in which record review
showed less than 100% compliance with a Part C requirement. Rather, if in reviewing records as
part of a compliance monitoring activity, the monitor found only one or two records out of
compliance, the monitor might determine that this was a “one-time error” and would decline to
make a finding. The monitor clarified that there was no specific “threshold” for determining the
level of noncompliance that could exist without making a finding, but indicated that this was a
case-by-case judgment. The monitor further indicated that she could not identify the instances in
which this had occurred because she had not been keeping track or retaining any documentation
of the programs for which this had occurred.
OSEP Conclusion
To effectively monitor the implementation of Part C of the IDEA by EIS programs/providers, as
required by IDEA sections 616, 635(a)(10)(A) and 642 and 34 CFR §§303.500 and 303.501, the
State must issue written findings for all noncompliance, regardless of the level of
noncompliance, unless such noncompliance is corrected prior to the issuance of a finding.
Based on the review of documents, analysis of data and interviews with State personnel, as
described above, OSEP concludes that the State does not have a general supervision system that
is, in its entirety, reasonably designed to identify noncompliance in a timely manner using its
different components, because, as described above, the State did not, in all cases when a PAR
review of records showed less than 100% compliance, make a finding of noncompliance.
Rather, in some cases when a small percentage of records showed noncompliance, the State
declined to make a finding of noncompliance.
Required Actions/Next Steps
Within 90 days from the date of this letter, the State must provide a written assurance that it has
revised its practices so that it makes a finding of noncompliance when it finds any level of
compliance below 100%.




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Alabama Part C 2010 Verification Letter - Enclosure


Critical Element 2: Correction of Noncompliance
Does the State have a general supervision system that is reasonably designed to ensure
correction of identified noncompliance in a timely manner?
To effectively monitor the implementation of Part C of the IDEA by EIS programs/providers, as
required by IDEA sections 616, 635(a)(10)(A), and 642, 34 CFR §§303.500 and 303.501, the
State must have a general supervision system that corrects noncompliance in a timely manner. In
addition, as noted in OSEP Memorandum 09-02, Reporting on Correction of Noncompliance in
the Annual Performance Report Required under Sections 616 and 642 of the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act, dated October 17, 2008 (OSEP Memo 09-02), to verify that
previously identified noncompliance has been corrected, the State must verify that the EIS
program and/or provider: (1) is correctly implementing the specific regulatory requirements
(i.e., achieved 100% compliance) based on a review of updated data such as data subsequently
collected through on-site monitoring or a State data system; and (2) has corrected noncompliance
for each child, unless the child is no longer within the jurisdiction of the EIS program and/or
provider.
OSEP Conclusion
Based on the review of documents, analysis of data, and interviews with State and local
personnel, OSEP concludes that the State’s systems for general supervision are reasonably
designed to correct noncompliance in a timely manner. However, without also collecting data at
the local level, OSEP cannot determine whether the State’s systems are fully effective in
correcting noncompliance in a timely manner.
Required Actions/Next Steps
No action is required.
Critical Element 3: Dispute Resolution
Does the State have procedures and practices that are reasonably designed to implement the
dispute resolution requirements of IDEA?
The State must have procedures and practices that are reasonably designed to implement the
following IDEA Part C dispute resolution requirements: the State Complaint procedures in 34
CFR §§303.510 through 303.512; and the mediation and due process procedure requirements in
34 CFR §§303.419 through 303.425 (as modified by IDEA sections 615(e) and 639(a)(8)).
Pursuant to 34 CFR §303.420(a), the State has elected to adopt the IDEA Part B mediation and
due process procedures, which are in current Part B regulations in 34 CFR §§300.506 through
300.512, and develop procedures that meet the requirements of 34 CFR §303.425, rather than
develop procedures that meet the requirements in 34 CFR §§303.419 and 303.421 through
303.425. Because the State has elected to adopt those Part B procedures, it must adopt and
implement procedures that are consistent with the resolution session requirements in 34 CFR
§300.510.
During the verification visit, the State informed OSEP that it had not adopted procedures that are
consistent with the resolution session requirements in 34 CFR §300.510. OSEP also confirmed
that the State’s Early Intervention Child and Parent Rights for Alabama, the document that the
State uses to meet the notice requirements of 34 CFR §303.403(b)(3) and (4), does not include
the requirements of 34 CFR §300.510. (The State noted that it has never received a request for a
due process hearing, and that there has not yet been a circumstance under which the resolution


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Alabama Part C 2010 Verification Letter - Enclosure


process was required.) Following the verification visit, the State informed OSEP that it had
begun the process of revising its Administrative Code to include procedures that are consistent
with the requirements of 34 CFR §300.510.
OSEP Conclusion
To ensure that the State has procedures and practices that are reasonably designed to implement
the dispute resolution requirements of IDEA, as required by IDEA section 34 CFR §300.510, the
State must adopt procedures that are consistent with the resolution process requirements in that
regulation. Based on the review of documents, analysis of data, and interviews with State and
local personnel, as described above, OSEP concludes that the State has procedures and practices
that are reasonably designed to implement the dispute resolution requirements of IDEA, except
that the State does not have procedures to implement the resolution session requirements of 34
CFR §300.510 (which are required due to the State’s adoption of the Part B due process hearing
procedures under 34 CFR §303.420(a)).
In addition, given that Alabama did not receive complaints or due process hearing requests
during FFYs 2007, 2008 and 2009, OSEP cannot determine whether the State’s procedures and
practices for complaints and due process hearings would be effective in ensuring timely
resolution of such requests.
Required Actions/Next Steps
With its FFY 2011 application under IDEA Part C, due in May 2011, the State must provide a
copy of its Administrative Code, as amended to include the requirements of 34 CFR §300.510,
and an assurance that it has revised the State’s Early Intervention Child and Parent Rights for
Alabama document to include those requirements, including the requirement to inform parents of
the dispute resolution process.
Critical Element 4: Improving Early Intervention Results
Does the State have procedures and practices that are reasonably designed to improve early
intervention results and functional outcomes for all infants and toddlers with disabilities?
The State must have procedures and practices that are reasonably designed to improve early
intervention results and functional outcomes for all infants and toddlers with disabilities.
OSEP Conclusion
Based on the review of documents and interviews with State personnel, OSEP concludes that the
State has procedures and practices that are reasonably designed to improve early intervention
results and functional outcomes for all infants and toddlers with disabilities.
Required Actions/Next Steps
No action is required.
Critical Element 5: Implementation of Grant Assurances
Does the State have procedures and practices that are reasonably designed to effectively
implement selected grant application requirements, i.e., making local determinations and
publicly reporting on EIS program performance, comprehensive system of personnel
development (CSPD), and State-level interagency coordination?
The State must have procedures and practices that are reasonably designed to ensure that the
State is effectively implementing the following grant application requirements: (1) making local


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Alabama Part C 2010 Verification Letter - Enclosure


determinations for, and publicly reporting on, EIS program performance pursuant to IDEA
sections 616 and 642; (2) implementation of a CSPD pursuant to IDEA section 635(a)(8) and 34
CFR §303.360; and (3) State-level interagency coordination to ensure that methods are in place
under IDEA sections 635(a)(10), 637(a)(2) and 640 and applicable provisions in 34 CFR
§§303.520 through 303.528.
OSEP Conclusion
Based on the review of documents and interviews with State personnel, OSEP concludes that the
State has procedures and practices that are reasonably designed to implement selected grant
application requirements, i.e., making local determinations and publicly reporting on EIS
program performance, CSPD, and interagency coordination.
Required Actions/Next Steps
No action is required.
II.    Data Systems
Critical Element 1: Collecting and Reporting Valid and Reliable Data
Does the State have a data system that is reasonably designed to collect and report valid and
reliable data and information to the Department and the public in a timely manner?
To meet the requirements of IDEA sections 616, 618, 635(a)(14), and 642 and 34 CFR §303.540,
the State must have a data system that is reasonably designed to collect and report valid and
reliable data and information to the Department and the public in a timely manner and ensure
that the data collected and reported reflects actual practice and performance.
OSEP Conclusion
Based on the review of documents and interviews with State personnel, OSEP concludes that the
State has a data system that is reasonably designed to collect valid and reliable data and
information, to report the data and information to the Department and the public in a timely
manner, and to ensure that the data and information collected and reported reflects actual
practice and performance.
Required Actions/Next Steps
No action is required.
Critical Element 2: Data Reflect Actual Practice and Performance
Does the State have procedures that are reasonably designed to verify that the data collected
and reported reflect actual practice and performance?
To meet the requirements of IDEA sections 616, 618, 635(a)(14), and 642 and 34 CFR §303.540,
the State must have procedures that are reasonably designed to verify that the data collected and
reported reflect actual practice and performance.
OSEP Conclusion
Based on the review of documents and interviews with State personnel, OSEP concludes that the
State has procedures that are reasonably designed to verify that the data collected and reported
reflect actual practice and performance.




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Alabama Part C 2010 Verification Letter - Enclosure


Required Actions/Next Steps
No action is required.
Critical Element 3: Integrating Data Across Systems to Improve Compliance and Results
Does the State compile and integrate data across systems and use the data to inform and focus
its improvement activities?
To meet the requirements of IDEA sections 616, 618, 635(a)(14), and 642, 34 CFR §303.540 and
OSEP Memorandum 10-04: Part C State Performance Plan (Part C – SPP) and Part C Annual
Performance Report (Part C – APR), the State must compile and integrate data across systems
and use the data to inform and focus its improvement activities.
OSEP Conclusion
Based on the review of documents and interviews with State personnel, OSEP concludes that the
State compiles and integrates data across systems and uses the data to inform and focus its
improvement activities.
Required Actions/Next Steps
No action is required.
III.   Fiscal Systems
Critical Element 1: Timely Obligation and Liquidation of Funds
Does the State have procedures that are reasonably designed to ensure the timely obligation and
liquidation of IDEA funds?
The State must have procedures that are reasonably designed to ensure the timely obligation and
liquidation of IDEA funds, as required by the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), its
implementing regulations in the Education Department General Administrative Regulations
(EDGAR) (including 34 CFR Parts 76 and 80), and the applicable sections of Office of
Management and Budget (OMB) Circulars A-87 and A-133.
OSEP Conclusion
Based on the review of documents and interviews with State personnel, OSEP concludes that the
State has procedures that are reasonably designed to ensure the timely obligation and liquidation
of IDEA funds.
Required Actions/Next Steps
No action is required.
Critical Element 2: Appropriate Use of IDEA Funds
Does the State have procedures that are reasonably designed to ensure appropriate use of IDEA
funds?
The State must have procedures that are reasonably designed to ensure appropriate use of IDEA
Part C funds in the State that are consistent with the requirements of GEPA, EDGAR (including
34 CFR Parts 76 and 80), OMB Circulars A-87 and A-133, IDEA section 638 and 34 CFR Part
303.




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Alabama Part C 2010 Verification Letter - Enclosure


OSEP Conclusion
Based on the review of documents and interviews with State personnel, OSEP concludes that the
State has procedures that are reasonably designed to ensure appropriate use of IDEA funds.
Required Actions/Next Steps
No action is required.




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